Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area features a large lake, extensive hiking and bridle trails, and campgrounds within the Wayne National Forest in southern Ohio. It is named after the historic Vesuvius Furnace which still stands.
It was predicted that iron ore in the Hanging Rock Iron Region would last for 2,700 years but most of the iron seams had been depleted by the 1900s. Vesuvius Furnace closed in 1905 after exhausting all the available wood, iron, and limestone in the area.
During the Great Depression in the 1930s, the U.S. Forest Service began acquiring land, planting trees, and building recreational facilities in what later became the Wayne National Forest. In 1937, the Civilian Conservation Corps began the construction of a dam along Storms Creek that formed Lake Vesuvius.
Today, the rugged hills and sharp rock outcroppings provide bountiful opportunities for outdoor recreation, and the Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area includes more than 25 miles of hiking trails and 45 miles of bridle trails, a sandy beach along the lake, and campgrounds—among many other amenities.
The Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area includes more than 25 miles of hiking trails and 45 miles of bridle trails. Two of the most popular trails include:
- The Lakeshore Trail is a scenic 8.25-mile loop trail that follows along the shore of Lake Vesuvius.
- The more adventurous Vesuvius Backpack Trail is a 17.3-mile loop trail that follows alongside Lake Vesuvius, and goes through mature forests, open fields, and brushland.
From Ironton, follow OH Route 93 north for 6.5 miles. Turn right onto County Road 29 and follow the signs to Lake Vesuvius.
From Jackson, follow OH Route 93 south for 37 miles. Turn left onto County Road 29 and follow the signs to Lake Vesuvius.